Words, Words, and More Words

This is my first post in October 2020 and if you are the few faithful followers, apologies. It has been a busy three weeks at work as my team was focused on getting ready for a new product release. Then there were personal matters and other distractions.

You probably have noticed that I have not commented on every single social event – from the riots, the pandemic, and the upcoming election. There is a very good reason for that: I simply want my words to be encouraging, not polarizing. And as an introvert and as a Christian, I’d rather choose my words carefully, not blurt out the first things that come to mind.

I am also reminded of a Japanese story set in ancient times. The story is about a man who went to a sage for wisdom because this man had offended people all the time. The sage asked the man to put a pigeon feather on every door in the village. When the man was done, he returned to the sage. The sage then asked the man to recover every feather. The morale of the story: words said cannot be easily unsaid.

It is much worse in the 21st century where everything we post on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram sit on servers and never fully deleted. Our social media posts are shared, and shared again. They are taken out of context and even become evidence against us. As I indicated in my previous posts on shame and internal monologues, our words are weapons to inflict shame on others, or ourselves.

The Bible says our words have the power of life and death. More often than not, it tends be a destroyer. The Book of James call our tongue a fire, a corrupter, and untamed. Our tongue is compared to a ship’s rudder, a small part that steers the larger body. Lastly, our tongue is described as a restless evil.

A few careless words can set the trajectory of a person’s life. I know. I have said dumb things when I was a teenager. Now, I wonder if I might have damaged that person irreparably.

What I would like to end with is simple: our words have power and we have to be very careful. This is going to be even more important as we head into November 2020 – our next Presidential election. We will hear a lot more rhetoric and shouts from an increasingly hostile culture. We will be very tempted to fight fire with more fire.

However, what I found is that God the Holy Spirit living in me has been a great help in controlling my tongue. There is this gentle Voice that asks: “Before you say what you are about to say, is it true? Or helpful? Or loving?” Or, “Will you feel more at peaceful after you say it? Or less?” God’s Spirit often extinguishes the hell fire that would have spewed out and burned everyone. He does it for me.

God can also do that for you too.

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